Q. What does HMO stand for?
A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "Hey, Moe!" Its roots go
back to a concept pioneered by Dr. Moe Howard*, who discovered that a
patient could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he was
poked hard enough in the eyes.
Q. I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I
A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer
will provide you with a book listing all the doctors who were
participating in the plan. These doctors basically fall into two
categories: those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those
who will see you but are no longer part of the plan. But don't worry, the
remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has
an office just a half-day's drive away.
Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?
A. No. Only those you need.
Q. What are pre-existing conditions?
A. This is a term used by the grammatically challenged when they want to
talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck
with it.
Q. Can I get coverage for my pre-existing conditions?
A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.
Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?
A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.
Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand.
I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What
should I do?
A. Poke yourself in the eye.
Q. What if I'm away from home and I get sick?
A. You really shouldn't do that.
Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can
handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart
transplant right in his office?
A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $10
co-payment, there is no harm giving him a shot at it.
Q. Will health care be any different in the next century?
A. No. But if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.

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